RUSSIA: 64 people dead as fire guts shopping mall in Russia

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About sixty four people have died in a fire incident at shopping and entertainment complex in the Siberian coal-mining city of Kemerovo, Russia.

The blaze reportedly started on an upper floor of the Winter Cherry complex during school holidays with shops, cinema and bowling alley packed at the time.

Reports have it that majority of the victims are children.

Video posted on social media showed people jumping from windows to escape the flames. And some people died in the process.

According to preliminary information, the roof collapsed in two cinemas,” Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement.

64 people died as fire guts shopping mall in Russia lailasnews

Russian authorities have launched an investigation into the cause of the blaze.

BBC reports that four people have been detained for questioning, including the head of the company that manages the shopping centre and some other management staff of the complex.

The fire broke Sunday night and some 660 emergency personnel were deployed in the rescue effort.

The region’s deputy governor Vladimir Chernov was quoted as saying the fire probably began in a children’s trampoline room.

The preliminary suspicion is that a child had a cigarette lighter which ignited foam rubber in this trampoline room, and it erupted like gunpowder,” he said.

But Rossiya 24 TV, a national broadcaster, said an electrical fault was the most likely cause – as in most previous deadly fires in Russia.

Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, Anna Kuznetsova, has blamed negligence, and called for urgent safety checks at similar entertainment complexes.

Kemerovo is a key coal-producing area about 3,600km (2,200 miles) east of the capital, Moscow.

The shopping centre which opened in 2013 covers about 23,000 sq m (248,000 sq ft), and has a petting zoo, all of whose animals are reported to have died.

Rescue efforts are still ongoing as about 660 emergency personnel were deployed in the rescue effort. Firefighters tackled the blaze for more than 17 hours